Nexus+ 2020: The gift of connection

Adapted image by Clint Adair

Fresh from the close of UWTSD’s Nexus+ 2020 I’m just too stimulated to not commit a few ‘in the moment’ reflections to screen.

It was an absolute privilege and joy to present with entrepreneur/pirate/pioneer Educator, Paul Ranson, to share work on entrepreneurial inspired online peer support and development on behalf of the International Institute of Creative Development and the Erasmus+ funded EntreCompEdu. Projects promoting creativity, flexibility and innovation in pedagogy and practice, especially relevant post-COVID as online learning becomes more prevalent.

As I have shared before, reflecting on my Nexus 2019 experience, the word “Nexus” comes from the Latin “nectere”, “to bind”, with the same Latin root which gave rise to “connect” and “annex”. Brand new connections made last year in this very space, now developed into professionally profoundly impactful relationships; key characters who would help me bring my ‘Pirates in HE’ vision to life. Thank you, Caroline Lohmann-Hancock, Phillip Morgan, and Nicola Welton. It was significant itself that we were given the opportunity to share the ‘Pirates in HE story’ which demonstrates an openness and appetite to/for new ideas and perspectives. It is such an amazing feeling to contribute ideas for resilient, creative, inter-generational change through the development of professional, collaborative and constructive interactions. Developing agency, voice and advocacy within higher education, students and communities is a high priority for us.

I also look back to yesterday, and the lovely support tendered in and outside my session on the various design iterations and future plans for the ‘Professional Context Vlog’, I am enthused to continue with this project, and continue to develop peer support materials for its continued development and employ.

I have also learnt so much from my fellow presenters, and not just new technology applications to support my online pedagogy (TEL teams, Christian & Dominique) but also creative ways to get more active during lock-down (Geraint Forster and Dylan Blain). There was even a divine mindfulness intervention with the beautiful calming tones of Heather Fish. Again, testimony that staff, as well as student well-being matters!

I am now excited to follow up with all the new threads of connections amongst the attendees and presenters. Keith Temple (script-writer), a fortuitous chance meeting with a creative mind with both the skill and love of storytelling, and Deleuzian influences, just one example!

I’m literally closing my eyes now…exhausted, but excited about the months ahead. Brene Brown whispers in my ear, ‘connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.’….

Nexus + created the foundations for the magic again….I will dream well tonight. I believe the gifts of connection these last two days will continue to grow.

Special thanks to the UWTSD Staff Development team, including Sara Mills and Victoria Watkins. Also to Kath Penaluna, of IICED, UWTSD, for her unwavering support.


Brown, B. (2010) ‘ Courage, Compassion, and Connection: The Gifts of Imperfection’ [blog]. Available: [14/07/2020].

EntreCompEdu :

About Nexus 2019

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